Greetings Marvista Families,
I hope you are all looking forward to this time of year to have even more family time, yummy food, hot beverages and (hopefully) a bit of snow for some winter wonderland (I’m from Ontario, Canada where snow is on the ground for at least four months of the year).
For this weekly message, I’d like to share a super practical tool to help your family figure out a healthy technology use balance. There is a growing body of research showing that high technology use is linked to depression and anxiety, so as hard as it is to try and limit in this distance-learning season we are in, it is still vitally important to have boundaries and balance. It’s all about having a plan that the family agrees on ahead of time, and then having it posted in a place all can see and refer to. Once everyone is on the same page, nagging about shutting down the tablet or Xbox or whatever should be minimal because everyone already agreed to the plan.
Here is the website, created by the National PTA: https://thesmarttalk.org/#/ You just sit down as a family, input the names of kids (I’d put all the kids names in where it asks for the “kid” name), input what kids call you (I’d put all grownups in this space), and then answer a bunch of simple questions. Here’s one example:
These are your family’s designated device free zones (check all that apply):
- At the table when eating together
- During homework time
- In bed when (kids names) should be sleeping
- In school when devices aren’t allowed
- When we’re having face-to-face conversations
- In water, including the bath, shower, pool, lake, river or ocean
- At certain religious services and other events where devices aren’t allowed
- *Add another device-free zone
Once you’ve answered the questions, the website will create a PDF of your electronics use agreement that can be saved and looked at whenever you’d like (weekly would be a good place to start). Even better, if you have a printer you can print it off and put it on the refrigerator or next to the toilet to remind everyone of the agreement (going number 2 is a great time to be reminded).
Kids need structure and having it around technology use will actually free them to find joy in other ways that are much more life-giving like building with Legos, coloring, creating fun new games, things like that. Make sure to include them in the conversation and you may be surprised to find they want this as much as you do. Believe me, even if you have to work and can’t spend your days with your kids, creating technology-free parts of their day will be a gift to them and they will find other things to fill their time.
Blessings over winter break everyone, I so look forward to seeing all your students when we return in the new year!
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